When an individual is removed from the family unit and sentenced to a term of incarceration, the demands and pressures placed on an offender’s family once they are removed can cause a ripple effect, sometimes leaving the family unit dysfunctional. The children of these families suffer most as they are often lost in working with the parent(s). Likewise, when an individual is released from incarceration, there are unrealistic demands and expectations placed on the ex-offender, leaving them feeling inadequate when they are unable to obtain or sustain employment; foster or cultivate previous relationships; or communicate how the pressure of everyday life causes overwhelming desires to re-offend because of the lack of resources.
The Eastern District of Missouri (EDMO) created the Family Program in 2008 to address the inherent needs of ex-offenders and their families. In an effort to assist family and friends of ex-offenders in understanding the supervision process, a family manual was developed titled A Guide to Understanding Supervision For Family and Friends.@ This manual provides information as it relates to the conditions of supervision, policies and procedures of the probation office, the probation officer=s role, and the role of family and friends during the supervision process.
The Family Program is designed to provide information and referral services to those individuals and their families throughout the adjudication process. The program focuses on providing information through quarterly orientations, referral services, and serving as a conduit between community agencies and the families of ex-offenders. Specifically, orientations are conducted quarterly to provide information to defendants, ex-offenders, and family members prior to sentencing, while in custody, and upon their re-entry into the community. In additional, the Family Program sponsors numerous activities with the assistance of community partners to alleviate the pressures on the family unit.
Who We Are:
The Family Team consists of representation of staff employed by the United States Probation and Pretrial Services Office. With the assistance from representatives from the Bureau of Prisons, Division of Children and Family Services, EDMO Employment, Housing, and Second Chance Act Program, and a host of other community partners the endeavors undertaken by the program remain effective and successful.
What We do:
The Family Program will assist in providing the following services with the assistance of its partnering agencies:
- Mentorship for the previously incarcerated parent
- Support Groups for the previously incarcerated parent, child and custodial/noncustodial parent
- Activities to help reintegrated the preciously incarcerated parent and child
- Mediation between the previously incarcerated parent and custodial parent
- Assistance in navigating the child support system for the previously incarcerated parent
- Childcare Assistance/Referrals (including daycare, after school programs, summer day camps and employment programs)
The Family Program sponsors several events throughout the year to include an annual family day prison trip, back to school events, health fair, ice cream socials, holiday parties, toys and coat drives, and video conferencing with inmates and their families. These events required a lot of planning and fundraising to make them a success. Anderson chairs the fundraising committee for the Family Program and has conducted many events over the years to include bake sales, barbeque sales, soul food dinner sales, soup/chili sales, basket raffles and networking to obtain community partners willing to assist.
Contact Vashell Anderson, Senior U.S. Probation Officer for more information, 314-244-7086